A Glance of The Summer Palace 《渔舟唱晚 /Homebound Fishman 》 Edward/PHT 01/12/2012 <ul><li>Maybe you have been to some of the best museums in world, such as the Louvre in France and the Museum of Great Britain. In a sense, it maybe just as grand as above, if not more. Its delicacy in design makes it a special attraction…… </li></ul><ul><li>Historical Overview </li></ul><ul><li>In 1153, Jin Dynasty, set up a temporary palace called the “Garden of Gold Waters” as summer resort; </li></ul><ul><li>In 1368-1644, Ming Dynasty, changed into as imperial garden; </li></ul><ul><li>In 1702, the Qing Emperor Kanxi(1662-1722AD) enlarged it as temporary Palace; </li></ul><ul><li>In 1750, the Qing Emperor Qianlong(1736-1795AD) reconstructed it and called it the Garden of Clear Ripples; </li></ul><ul><li>In 1860, the Allied Anglo-French Force captured Beijing and burned the Palace; </li></ul><ul><li>In 1888, the Empress Dowager Ci’xi decided to spend the money originally earmarked for the Chinese Navy and rebuilt the garden, she herself gave it its present name of Yi He Yuan. </li></ul><ul><li>Ever since then, the Empress Dowager Ci’xi started to spend every summer here and had it restored after it was damaged again in 1900. </li></ul>Main Features The main features of the Summer Place are Kuming Lake and Longevity Hill, it has an area of 290 hectores, approximately the size of 7 Tian’anmen Square, it also boast more than 3,000 bays of various buildings in different palace and garden architectural styles. Kunming Lake consists of ¾ of whole garden. The whole Summer Palace was model after the style of the West Lake in Hangzhou.(more info.: http://www.pandaholidaytours.com/hangzhoutours.html) First, my camera brings you to enjoy the Marble Boat that is symbol to the stability of the Qing government…
Originally, it was built in Chinese style. The present western style upper part was rebuilt after the original one was burnt down by the Anglo-French Allies in 1860. It was named the Boat for Pure Banquets. Empress Dowager Ci’xi used to sample tea and enjoy the hazy scene. Over the lake in rainy days on the Boat, when it is raining, water flows through the mouths of dragon heads on the body of the boat and pours Into the lake, creating a pleasant sound and a mysterious atmosphere…
The Suzhou Street in the Rear Hill and Rear Lake More info.: http://www.pandaholidaytours.com/suzhoutours.html
In the past, many eunuchs disguised themselves as traders, and the emperors may come here to do some shopping or have some other fun. It was called “Business Street” at that time. In the 1980’s, the Suzhou Street was restored and expanded to 45,000 square meters, it turned out a new look.
You can’t use cash but have to change the cash into traditional Chinese coins in the old “bank”. Everywhere in the Suzhou Street, you have to use those antique like coins for souvenirs or simply a cup of tea.
The Printing Walkway , more commonly known as the Covered Walkway, is one of the most important structures in the Summer Palace. It is also the longest walkway in the Chinese gardens. It is 728 M long and it is divided into 273 sections. On the beams and crossbeams of the walkway, there are altogether over 14,000 traditional Chinese paintings.
It was said that the Emperor Qianlong travelled to the South on six of his inspections, he was so much in love with the beautiful scenery there that he asked the best painters too sketch them down and later had them copied on the beams and crossbeams of the Walkway. Even the Summer Palace itself was modeled after a famous garden in Suzhou, a garden city in China.
Some of paintings are birds, flowers and landscapes, the other are from famous ancient poems, dramas or other literary classics, such as “Monkey King”, “The Tales of Three Kingdoms”, “The Dream of Red Mansion” and “The Story of the Source of Peach Brook” etc.
On the central axis of the Summer Palace lies the hall of Dispelling Clouds and Tower of Buddhist Incense . This hall is place where the Empress Dowager used to celebrate her birthday on the 10-th day of the 10-th lunar month. According to historical records, she spent about 10 million teals of silver for her birthday celebrations, about 1/6 of the annual income of the whole country at that time!
The Tower of Buddhist Incense stands atop the Longevity Hill , it is the symbol of this royal garden and highest building inside the Palace. According to the original master plan for the Place, a nine storey tower designed after the Tower of Six Harmony in Hangzhou was about to be built. Just before the completion of the tower, Emperor Qianlong found out that tower did not fit with the surrounding hills and lakes, he decided the Tower of Buddhist Incense was built instead. It took 780,000 teals of silver to reconstruct the building during 1891-1894. This Tower used to be a place for emperors and empresses to pray.
Behind the tower of Buddhist Incense is the Sea of Wisdom , on which there are about 1,000 small glazed buddhist sculptures.
The Kunming Lake is the central lake on the grounds of the Summer Palace. Together with the Longevity Hill, it forms the key landscape features of the Summer Palace gardens. With an area of 2.2 square kilometers, it covers approximately three quarters of the Summer Palace grounds. It is fairly shallow with an average depth of only 1.5 metres . Since the lake develops a solid ice cover in winter, it is used for ice skating.
Have you noticed that the Covered Walkway painted and decorated with colorful designs and pictures, winds its way along to the north shore of Kunming Lake like a amazing ribbon linking the architectures and natural landscape? This painted walkway marvelously interweaves the palatial buildings dotting Longevity Hill and adjacent Kunming Lake, architecturally speaking, it does separate the hill from the lake, but one may just feel a subtle transition, not a clear-cut separation. Not only the Pavilions on the Covered Walkway present the 4 seasons of the year but also join the 4 different uneven ground. Strolling along it, won’t fell the ground in uneven or the twists and turns because the view nearby have diverged your attention.
This hall was the residence of Empress Dowager Ci’xi, after it was burnt down in 1860 by the Allied Anglo-French Force, it was reconstructed in 1889. Every year from April to October, she would leave the Forbidden City and live here in this hall until she died.
This hall is well known to have served as a prison for Emperor Guanxu(the son of Ci’xi) for 10 years. After the failure of the Reform Movement in 1898, the Ci’xi put son, under house arrest in the Water Terrace Pavilion (Now CP’s State Council in Zhongnanhai), later moved to here and confined there for 10 years……
The Garden of Harmonious Interest was designed like the Garden for East of Mind in Wuxi, Jiangsu Province. In 1751, when Emperor Qianlong was on his first inspection tour to the south of the Yangtze River, at there inscribed in his grandfather’s calligraphy, he loved it so much that he ordered it be copied and rebuilt in the Summer Palace. Qianlong prefaced on his poem: A pavilion a path, A pace a scene, The scene changes with each pace, And each pace is of great interest…
The Garden of Harmonious Interests is the garden of garden in the Summer Palace. It is an imitation, but in a sense, it is better than its original without changing it s essence in designs.
The Know-the-Fish Bridge In the Summer Palace nearly concentrated all kinds of ancient bridges in China. Among them, the most famous on is the Know-the-Fish Bridge. Their fame was built on an argument between 2 philosophers, Zhuang Zi and Hui Zi, about 2,500 year ago. Zhuang Zi claimed: ”Look, what happy fish!” Hui Zi asked: “You are not a fish, how do you know they are happy?” Zhuang Zi reported: “You are not me, how do you know I don’t know?”
East of Kunming Lake, stands a Bronze Ox , it was made in 1755 to control flood. It is a life-size Ox with inscriptions written by Emperor Qianlong on its back. Legend has it when Yu, the great king was in power about 4,000 years ago, the whole country was liable to floods, so he was busy controlling the flood. Whenever brought under control, an iron Ox would be put into the riverbed to prevent the next happening. Later, for some reason, people used to place it by the bank of the river. In another word, the Bronze Ox stands here to guard the flood from the Kunming Lake.
The biggest bridge in the Summer Place, is 150M long, 8M wide connecting the Octagonal Tower in the East and South Lake Isle in the south. It was built after Marco Polo Bridge , which is 15KM to the southwest of Beijing. With white marble balustrades carved with 544 lions in different postures, this bridge looks like a rainbow linking the human world with the Penglai Fairyland . The 17-Arch Bridge and the Penlai Fairyland
In December 1998, UNE- SCO included the Summer Palace on its World Heritage List with the following comments: 1) The Summer Palace in Beijing is an outstanding expression of the creative art of Chinese landscape garden design, incorporating the works of humankind and nature in a harmonious whole; 2) The Summer Palace epitomizes the philosophy and practice of Chinese garden design, which played a key role in the development of this cultural form throughout the east; 3) The imperial Chinese garden, illustrated by the Summer Palace, is a potent symbol of one of the major world civilizations.
The Lian Bridge , original prototype as the 5-Pavilion Bridge at Slander West Lake in Yangzhou,Jiangsu Province, built in 1757.(more info: http://www.pandaholidaytours.com/nanjingtours.html